Happy New Year writers and readers! Welcome to the first #writerswednesday of 2019, and a very special one at that. Today, we have the privilege of sharing with you some words from UNITED HOUSE founder, Amber Olafsson.
As a publisher and author herself, Amber offers a unique perspective on the writing and publishing process. Be encouraged by her words!
How did you know you were supposed to write a book?
I never used to think of myself as a writer, but I had a powerful experience with God seven years ago, which created an explosion of spiritual growth in me and developed a hunger for the Word and things of God. I began writing devotionals, and since I had a blog, I thought that was the best place to share those. What started as a food blog morphed into an outlet for me to share everything that God was doing in my life and teaching me. I blogged for 6 years before I wrote my first book, and while I loved writing, I realized I did not love the pressure of having to post blog material consistently. I’ve always written when I feel inspired, so when I started feeling a tug to write a book, I thought, well, this might actually be a great way to write as I feel inspired and not have the pressure of needing to post things consistently. At the same time, I felt unqualified to write an entire book, but God confirmed He was calling me to this through various people, and I decided to say yes. It has been quite the adventure, and I thought I could write one book and be done, but as every author quickly finds out, writing books is like getting tattoos, once you do one, you have to do another. Writers will always be writers.
How long did it take you to completed your manuscript?
I started writing the manuscript of THE AWESOME ONE near the end of 2015. I completed the rough draft in September 2016, so the bones of the book took about 9 or 10 months. I shelved it, however, (with the start of UNITED HOUSE) and started the revision process and completion of it in spring of 2018, and in October 2018, it released.
Everyone has a busy schedule, so when did you find time to write?
I usually wrote at night when my kids were in bed. I did have to work out a schedule with my husband though, because when you are in the “writing zone” and the words are flowing, it is very hard to do anything but write. I ended up scheduling a few nights each week specifically for writing, and a few nights, I would put down the pen (or step away from the keyboard) and be intentional about my family time. One tip that helped me: when a sentence, chapter idea, or a phrase hits you, pull out your smart phone and record it in your notes. This will give you a place to jot down thoughts as they come, and then the next time you are in your writing space, pull it out and expound upon those ideas.
Any advice to someone who is considering writing a book?
Yes! Absolutely pray about it. The book idea you might have may be for you to write now, or it could be a seed that is being planted for a future season. Ask God for confirmation about the timing and the topic. Consider your schedule and what you will have to say “no” to in order to say “yes” to the time it will take to complete a book.
What made you decide to publish through UNITED HOUSE?
Well, since I own UNITED HOUSE, it was the only choice I had. Haha! But for real, I started UNITED HOUSE to give authors everything I didn’t have when I self-published my first book, Dynamite Love. I assembled a team who could do the various parts of the publishing process that I either could not or didn’t enjoy, and we created a publishing company that makes publishing a book obtainable, affordable, and enjoyable.
What do you wish you had known when you started your book-publishing journey?
I wish I would have known to trust God’s timing with the release, and trust His plan with the outcome. When I started writing, I had no idea that I would soon take some of the experiences, words, and dreams He was pouring into me to create a curriculum for a publishing house. I wish I would have known that it is okay to pause on a writing project in order to create opportunities for others to start their own writing projects.
I also had this set date my book would release, and it wasn’t even close (in years, months, or days) to what I had originally envisioned, but God’s timing is impeccable. I learned a lot about trust and surrender through publishing, but He is faithful, and He knows what He is doing. Can I get an Amen?!
What advice would you give about releasing your book?
I would say do what YOU can do with what YOU have. Do not compare yourself to others. Make this book release your own. Yes, grab ideas from other authors and launch teams, but release this book in the way you want to—with your personality all over the launch. God has resourced you specifically with unique friends, contacts, finances, gifts, and creativity. Utilize the tools already in your tool box, and don’t worry if your book release doesn’t look like anyone else’s. It isn’t supposed to; it is YOUR book release, not theirs.
Also, I would consider budgeting a little extra for the release that can go towards giveaways, advertising, and hiring a launch coach or publicist. These are all valuable assets when it comes to releasing your book, and no matter what your finances look like, there are always a few ways you can spend your money wisely to help promote your book, and really it is the message behind your book that you are wanting to get out. Never lose sight of the reason you wrote your book. In the Kingdom of God, our books aren’t usually about promoting us, but instead are about filling the earth with His glory. If you keep that your target with your book release, you’ll never go wrong.
Amber Olafsson is a wife, mama, Bible teacher, speaker, publisher, and author of THE AWESOME ONE. She is passionate about connecting people to God, and as the owner (and dreamer) of UNITED HOUSE Publishing, she helps others find their voice and publish their stories. Amber lives with her husband Andrew and 3 energetic kids near Charlotte, NC. When she’s not sipping a hot cup of craft coffee—which, to be honest, is multiple times throughout the day (she likes her coffee)—and reading a good book, Amber enjoys traveling and making memories with her family, gardening, decorating, and spending time at the feet of Jesus.
You can get Amber’s latest book THE AWESOME ONE, here.